October 30, 2018
The mission of the Open Stories Foundation (OSF) is to promote understanding, healing, growth, and community for people experiencing or impacted by religious transition. To continue achieving that mission the OSF has undergone a self-evaluation of its services, and the organizational structure needed to deliver those services. The purpose of the evaluation process was to ensure that the OSF was creating the most value from the donations received. The OSF Board ran this process of self-evaluation, with inputs from staff, including John Dehlin and the Director of Operations. The criteria were to make sure that: 1) the mission was best fulfilled, 2) the management model was sustainable, and 3) that the organization was financially solvent. The board unanimously approved the changes from the self-evaluation.
The changes can be summarized by:
- The elimination of the events program (OSF-sponsored workshop and retreats),
- A change in our podcaster compensation model, and
- An evaluation of our board structure.
Workshops/Retreats. Since 2015, the OSF has supported an events program (workshops and retreats) for people affected by religious transition. While it has been successful enough financially to cover the cost of the staff supporting it, it is not a core service to the OSF and the board has decided to eliminate it. Going forward, OSF podcasters will be free to host their own events; they will be responsible for ensuring that their events are high quality and financially sustainable. Since the OSF does not need the staff to support the events program any longer, these staff positions have been eliminated. The Board would like to officially thank Tim Coray and Sharon Price who have performed this labor with love. This change also significantly reduces the amount of support required from the Director of Operations. The Board is still working on defining the responsibilities of the the Director of Operations role going forward.
Without the salary costs of events staff and management, the overhead of the OSF is minimized and financially viable. The OSF will continue to employ a part-time operations person and a part-time video/audio editor.
Podcaster Compensation. Podcasters are contractors to the OSF, and the Board has approved a new, simplified compensation model for podcasters that will align podcaster incentives to create the best content regularly, and to help to ensure financial sustainability of the OSF. The plan for 2019 is for all podcasters to receive 75% of the revenue designated for their specific podcast by donors, up to a cap of $200,000/year. Donations can be made through the respective podcast website(s), or to the OSF where checks can be designated to the specific podcaster. Ultimately, this model has the potential to increase the benefits to people experiencing religious transitions.
With regards to John’s compensation, he is serving as interim director of OSF until a new director is hired. He will continue to receive a salary as interim director, and will also be compensated as a podcaster. His total compensation for 2018 is not expected to exceed $200,000.
Board Organization: OSF Board roles are intended to last two years, and several board members have been serving much longer than that. Roger McOmber was ready to transition off the board after three years of service, but agreed to stay on and help with the evaluation process. Now that the evaluation is complete, so is Roger’s service. Craig Woodfield also has three years of board service and has transitioned out of this role and will continue as finance committee chair. The remaining board members would like to express our gratitude for their service and examples. Their guidance has helped grow the OSF and show us the way.
The OSF board will determine how many board members are required to support the foundation after this transition. It is possible that fewer board members will be needed, and we will make updates as any changes occur. It is worth noting that John had previously been a board member and voluntarily stepped down from this position earlier in the year, allowing for greater board independence, and allowing him more time to focus on his podcast and his individual endeavors. John’s exact, if any, involvement with the board going forward will be part of the Board’s ongoing evaluation process.
Conflict of Interest Policy: OSF is a non-profit and will promote understanding, healing, growth, and community for people by enabling its podcasters to have greater impact. The OSF will not invest time or resources into any for-profit endeavors of its own or of its podcasters.
Going Forward: OSF will fulfill its mission by focusing on all its podcasters. We hope to help our podcasters increase the quality of their content thereby increasing the number of people that they are helping. Transitions like this are always bittersweet and saying goodbye to friends and employees is difficult. We are very grateful especially for Amy Grubbs who managed staff and operations full-time for the last two years. Her vision and efforts have helped thousands of people.
Please reach out to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional questions. Please also look forward to our year end report for more information.
Board Secretary Jeremy Macdonald on behalf of the Board of the Open Stories Foundation including:
* Updated 10/17/2019 to include new Conflict of Interest statement, to avoid confusion, and to provide full transparency.